Written by Katie McKee.

WCA CommSquadFeb. 13 marked Women Communicators of Austin’s first CommSquad, a new semi-annual event series that connects local nonprofits with WCA member expertise to help tackle their most pressing communications issues and objectives.

At 9 a.m., more than 20 women gathered at Austin Pets Alive! to do just that. In this half-day brainstorming session and consultation, creativity, collaboration and urgency were abundant as participants pulled from their personal and professional experience to solve a pain point presented by the nonprofit.

With bagels and coffee in hand, the group listened on as Austin Pets Alive!’s executive director, Ellen Jefferson, explained APA’s communications goals and how the WCA CommSquad could help.

After the brief presentation, attendees gathered into groups and shared thoughts and recommendations toward a new elevator speech—a short, concise description—for the organization to use in all its communication efforts for a variety of stakeholder groups.

These groups then brainstormed specific keywords, phrases and thoughts to include in the elevator speech, doing so as organically as possible, using only sticky notes and pens to capture new ideas that sprung forth.

As the women reconvened, and the attendees discussed the recommendations of their own groups as well as others, it was evident that throughout the morning, each attendee developed a sense of urgency and newfound sympathy for the animals APA serves.

APA LogoAlthough name recognition for Austin Pets Alive! is generally high in Austin, we learned that the organization is much more than a shelter—a fact that many of us hadn’t known. The website states that:

Austin Pets Alive! is not your average animal shelter. We maintain comprehensive, innovative programs designed to save the animals most at risk for euthanasia.

In addition to acting as a shelter to rescue all the animals that would otherwise be euthanized, APA has created five programs to prepare animals for adoption, including a bottle-fed kitten nursery and Parvo puppy intensive care unit. With APA’s help, 7,000 animals are adopted per year.

Knowing what an impact this nonprofit has on not only the animals it saves, but also on the city of Austin, WCA is thrilled about our new way to give back to our community—by bringing together our professional skills and passion for helping an organization with a good mission.

WCA plans to hold another CommSquad event later this year! If you are interested in volunteering at a future CommSquad event or would like to recommend a nonprofit for CommSquad to help, email Samantha Furry, VP of Volunteer Coordination, at volunteers@wcaustin.org or comment below!